ARA logo Airborne Research Australia (ARA) is a research centre at Flinders University and Australia's National Research Aircraft Facility.  It is located at Parafield Airport in Adelaide, South Australia. ARA was established with funding from the Commonwealth Government's Major National Research Facilities Programme, and Flinders University.

The core activity of ARA is the use of airborne platforms (special mission aircraft) for a wide range applications and projects, mainly in the Environmental Research & Development area. Most of these projects are based on collaborations with colleagues and institutions within Australia and internationally.

ARA uses specialised aircraft carrying sophisticated sensor packages for the investigation of the atmosphere and the Earth's surface. Measurements can be taken from close to the surface to the stratosphere.

The cost-effective integration of complex instrumentation in aircraft is one of the core capabilities of ARA, which also includes design, manufacture and certification of components and systems.

ARA's projects cover the whole world and are focussed on R&D and science applications. ARA has significant Earth observation capability in several areas. For instance, ARA owns the only (civilian) high altitude sensor platform in the southern hemisphere, the Grob G520T Egrett.

ARA's staff (scientists, engineers, technicians, pilots, operations personnel and consultants) constitute an experienced and accessible team who ensure that the best results are obtained from research projects.

ARA also has the capability to carry out projects of a commercial nature using its wide expertise in Environmental R&D. These projects are carried out under a separate framework of operations, arrangements and costings.

Although all of these activities are carried out within the research framework at Flinders University, it is important to know that ARA is a 100% self-funding institute. It receives no base or recurrent funding from any sources, including the University. This means that all cost have to be covered by external project funding gained by ARA's staff.

Mission and Vision

The mission of ARA is to carry out world leading research in airborne environmental sciences. Our vision is best summarised in a quote from Antoine de St. Exupery, a French pilot who was killed in World War II.

If you want to build a ship,
don't drum up the men to gather wood,
divide the work and give orders.
Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea...

Governance and Administration

  • ARA is part of the School of the Environment, which lies within Flinders University's  Faculty of Science and Engineering.
  • The ARA Advisory Board with members with both, academic and industry background, oversees the activities and strategic planning of the Institute.
  • Day-to-day running of ARA is the responsibility of the Director/Chief Scientist.

fleet of ARA planes Contact information

Phone:61-8 -8182-4000
Fax:61 -8-8285-6710
Location: Hangar 60
Dakota Drive
Parafield Airport,
South Australia
Postal:PO Box 335
Salisbury South, SA 5106
Website:Airborne Research Australia